|home page||Paypal donation/ wish list||donation form||Where we are||Volunteer Form||Adoptable Pets||Lost and Found Pets||Send Us your story||Success Stories||animal talk||Recycle||Garage Sale Info||Report Animal Cruelty||Look for Your Lost Pet|
|Stafford Creek Freedom Tails Dog Program|
Offenders at Stafford Creek Corrections Center (SCCC), a state run prison facility located in Aberdeen, Washington, give shelter dogs a second chance at life. Offenders make the dogs more viable for adoption by teaching some socialization, housetraining, and much needed obedience skills. Stafford Creek’s Superintendent Pat Glebe, Correctional Unit Supervisor Dennis Cherry, and North Beach PAWS worked together to launch this program that benefits offenders, dogs, and adopters. The offenders are given a sense of purpose and responsibility; the dogs receive loving attention, care, and a chance for a happy life in stable homes; and the adoptive families appreciate receiving a new family member that is socialized and trained in basic commands.
The process starts with the selection of the program dogs. The volunteer dog trainer selects dogs from various shelters in Grays Harbor and surrounding counties. The dogs obtained for the program are usually strays or released to the shelters for various reasons. When the dogs arrive at SCCC they typically have kennel stress, no manners, and sometimes medical issues. The Freedom Tails program gives them structure in their lives, good grooming, housetraining, medical care, some socialization, and the ability to trust humans again.
Where the dogs live:
The program started with eight dogs per class, all of which lived in one housing unit. Due to the positive growth and development of the program, Freedom Tails now houses and trains up to 16 dogs, and involves a second living unit! The dogs stay in the cells with their offender handlers. Each cell has a large airline approved dog crate and all necessary supplies. An outside yard in front of the living units provides an area for the dogs to play and run, 5 outdoor kennels with dog houses, and an area to facilitate outdoor obedience training. Rain or shine, the offenders work their dogs.
When training begins:
Once all the dogs are at the facility, they begin a ten week training program with their assigned offender dog handlers.
The dogs are given a colored bandana to represent the level of training they have received and to indicate if the dog is safe around other people. All dogs are given an orange bandana when they first arrive to indicate the dog has not received any training and may not be safe to approach. A yellow bandana indicates a dog may be approached if the dog handler gives permission. The green bandana indicates the dog has been trained and is approachable. Dogs wearing a yellow or green bandana are allowed to go with the offender handlers to programs, work, or recreation. Not all areas in the facility are accessible, such as the industries area or the recreations hobby shop, or dining hall, due to safety concerns.
The volunteer dog trainer teaches offender trainers the techniques for basic obedience commands such as heel, sit, sit/stay, down, down/stay, stand, stand/stay, come, return to heel, and leave it. The training is conducted in the visit room, education dept classroom, or the yard located in front of the living units. Staff and the volunteer trainer observe how each dog is progressing with training instructions. New tasks are given for the individual handlers to work on each week.
The Washington Department of Corrections (DOC) is dedicated to re-training offenders while they are incarcerated so that when they re-enter the community they have more life skills. This will help them become productive citizens in the community. The dog program teaches the offender dog handlers responsibility, compassion, and patience. The offenders feel good about giving back to the community while utilizing their new found skills.
The dogs benefit from good care, attention, food, training, and love from the offenders assigned to them. The dogs are advertised on the internet by NB PAWS and in local community publications so they can be adopted and placed in good homes. This is a win/win/win program for dogs, offenders, and adopters!
|Help us Help Them|
Please click here to view past Freedom Tails newsletters
You can help support our Stafford Creek program with purchases of the items below:
Please click here to read an interview with Freedom Tails staff and offender trainers
Copyright 2007 North Beach Progressive Animal Welfare Society
Web design courtesy Al Lizakowski